Bones With Names: Long-Dead Bodies Archaeologists Have Identified

Historians record biographies of the rich and famous: kings, queens, emperors and knights. Archaeologists, more often than not, dig up common people, who remain stubbornly anonymous in death.

Occasionally, however, the written record and the archaeological record collide. In rare situations, researchers are actually able to identify a collection of bones as a person in the historical record. Many of these identifiable, or “individualized,” remains belonged to royalty or other high-profile people, the sort who tend to be buried in lavish graves stamped with their names.

The bodies of royalty are not necessarily more important to archaeologists, who can learn much about diet and lifestyle by examining the bones of commoners. But there’s something thrilling about uncovering this concrete evidence of the past. Read more.

[anonymous submission]

Back in 2003 Shakespeare scholar Michael Wood in his book ‘In Search of Shakespeare’  (p. 252) mentioned several identifiable POC living in one single London parish:

’…in the small parish of St. Botolph’s outside Aldgate…we find twenty-five black people living in Shakespeare’s lifetime…Among the names are these:

Christopher Capperbert

Suzanna Pearis

Symon Valencia




Francis…servant to Mr Peter Miller a beare brewer dwelling at the sign of the hartes horne in the liberties of Eastsmithfield…’

Delving into more detail, Oxford University historian Dr M. Kauffman’s forthcoming book ‘Black Tudors’, due in autumn 2016, will examine the lives of over 350 Africans known to have lived in Renaissance Britain.  (That doesn’t of course mean ONLY 350 lived there - just that 350 names of people clearly identified as black happen to have survived in historical records which are pretty patchy at best.)

The question is, if today’s POC don’t represent such figures at Renaissance Faires - then who can? Or are these documented black Elizabethans destined to be quietly wiped from the historical record?

Help Bill Nye get his documentary made!


Bill Nye, for those of you outside of America, is a mechanical engineer and the host of the most scientifically prolific show in the 90′s, “Bill Nye the Science Guy.” It’s silly, quirky, super weird, and completely scientifically focused. It was a staple for any middle school science classroom, and it shaped the lives of millions of children across the USA.

The coolest part? Bill Nye is an internationally acclaimed advocate fighting for scientific literacy, gender equality in male-dominated scientific fields such as coding and engineering, and a vehement supporter of combating global climate change… And we want to record his historic role in scientific literacy and advocation with a super cool documentary! This documentary aims to “start following Bill as he tours the globe, advocates for space policy in Washington DC, launches a satellite, hangs out with Neil deGrasse Tyson, debates climate change deniers, and attempts to fill the big shoes of his former mentor and friend Carl Sagan – all at a time when science is under attack.”


The Kickstarter only has 10 days to go and it’s scarcely past 50% funding. We need your help! AND YOU GET SOME HELLA COOL PRIZES!

So please, please, PLEASE spread awareness of this! This man mentored under Carl Sagan, debated one of the most (deluded) popular anti-evolutionists, and travels the globe ALL THE TIME to raise awareness of the struggle a scientifically illiterate world can cause. Donate what you can, and if you can’t spare the monies, please reblog! Let’s make this happen!

Yesterday the forensic anthropology team at our Museum of Natural History announced the discovery of four early leaders of historic Jamestown found buried under a excavated church. 

Over on smithsonian3d‘s website, you can explore the site in 3D and take interactive tours created by our anthropologists as they guide you through how they used forensics and historical records to identify these men

Wheatfield with Crows, 1890

Vincent van Gogh

Wheatfield with Crows was painted in July 1890, in the last weeks of van Gogh’s life. It is widely considered to be his last ever painting, although some historians are uncertain as no historical records exist.

Simon Schama [paraphrased]:
“…Wheatfield with crows is the most startling of them all [landscapes]. Not for what it’s supposed to say about van Gogh’s frailty, because I don’t think the artist who painted this was frail at all. But for what it says about the conventions of art. It shows Vincent in total command, never fiercer in his contempt for the rules. In his headlong rush to junk the entire history of landscape painting.
Starting with perspective. It’s whole point - a bid to create an illusion of deep space so that the eye could confidently wander through to a distant horizon - but here, perspective is reversed - it’s a road that goes nowhere, and the two flanking paths just seem to rise up vertically through the picture like flapping wings. All our signals, our assumptions about how to read visual signs have been wickedly scrambled.
So what are we looking at?
Suffocation - sure, but elation too.
Those crows might be coming at us, but equally they might be flying away. Demons gone - as we sink into a total immersion in the power of nature, and into a massive wall of writhing brilliant paint, which the colour itself seems to tremble and pulse and sway.
It’s with this independent life of formed blocks of colour that Vincent van Gogh creates modern art.
…In his art he’d never been more visionary, never more brilliant, but not in his life.”

Vincent van Gogh
March 30th 1853 - July 29th 1890

Alexander the Great's Father Found — Maybe

A decades-old mystery about the body of Alexander the Great’s father has been solved, anthropologists claim.

A new analysis of bones from a Macedonian tomb complex reveals a skeleton with a knee injury so severe that it would have caused a noticeable limp in life. This injury matches some historical records of one sustained by Philip II, whose nascent empire Alexander the Great would expand all the way to India.

The skeleton in question, however, is not the one initially thought to be Philip II’s — instead, it comes from the tomb next door. The skeletons are the subject of an entrenched debate among experts on ancient Greece and Macedonia. While some praised the new study, others pushed back, suggesting the new research will not quell 40 years of controversy. Read more.

What's in a Name? A lesson in Apologetics.

Normally, my attention span for videos on the web is limited to about 2 minutes. But when I started watching this video last last night I got sucked in by Dr. Williams engaging style and watched the entire lecture. As Evangel blogger Tom Gilson says, it’s a “talk on apologetics like you’ve never heard before.”

via firstthings.com & thegospelcoalition.org

I have had a deep appreciation for apologetics ever since I was introduced to such a study a few years back. Unfortunately, it’s become a lost art within the Church today and it desperately needs to be reacquainted. Lest we begin to follow after our itching ears. While the first video is a long one, make yourself some popcorn and break out the notebook. Dr. Williams is on to something.


Volcanoes are well known for cooling the climate, but by how much has been debated by scientists for many years.

A team of atmosphere scientists from the Tokyo Institute of Technology and the University of Copenhagen have come up with a more precise method to show which historic episodes of global cooling were caused by volcanic eruptions. The team looked at patterns caused by stratospheric photochemistry in sulphur isotopes in volcanic sediments trapped in ice cores. Matthew Johnson, an associate professor at the Department of Chemistry, University of Copenhagen, pointed out that although historical records can be inaccurate, as some are written down long after the fact, ‘the chemistry does not lie’.

Keep reading


We all assumed Peridot was ignorant of our heroes because the Crystal Rebellion was stricken from Homeworld records, but what if it’s something else?

Remember how Pearl reacted to Steven knowing the name “William Dewey” and Mayor Dewey writing a script.  She wasn’t surprised that Steven knew some obscure historical fact (who founded the town should be well known enough), it’s that they both knew of events they weren’t present for. “How would he know. He wasn’t even there.”

 What if that’s another thing that “just isn’t their way”. What if Gems don’t keep historical records, at least not as religiously as we do.

It makes sense if you consider that Gems do not die from old age. It’s entirely possible that there are gems that have existed since the dawn of gem civilization. There’s not as strong of a need for historical records if gems can just ask their elders what happened whenever.

“The British are coming.” And Other Things Revere Didn’t Say

“The British are coming.” And Other Things Revere Didn’t Say

Listen my children and you shall hear Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere

The American celebration of independence seems an appropriate time to ponder the opening line of, “Paul Revere’s Ride”. According to Longfellow, Revere raised the alarm and became a hero of the Revolutionary War.

Unfortunately, this isn’t true. It’s true that he made the ride, but his role has been exaggerated.

The most…

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Transgender children: what’s behind the spike in numbers?
“I don’t see it as a disorder,” says Dr Telfer.

In households, classrooms and clinics around [Australia], psychiatrists, endocrinologists and paediatricians are scrambling to treat lengthening waiting lists of children as young as six who are experiencing gender dysphoria, an intense, persistent urge to switch genders. “The numbers are enormous,” says Dr Michelle Telfer, the leading specialist at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital, which recently received a windfall $6 million from the ­Vic­torian Government to cope with demand. From one patient in 2003, the hospital expects to see 200 children and adolescents this year. […]

“I don’t see it as a disorder,” she says. “Historical records suggest there have always been people who didn’t fit into a binary system but Western cultural norms have meant it hasn’t been acceptable to come out publicly… I think transgenderism is 20 to 30 years behind homosexuality,” she argues of a once-hidden trickle gathering momentum. “It’s only in recent years there’s been a shift in the ages that people present.” […]

“The overall increase reflects broader social acceptance,” Dr Harte [of Melbourne’s Monash Medical Centre] says. “There may be an underlying biological contributor but it’s extremely complex. I suspect this is part of normal human diversity. Nature loves diversity. Society hates it, but society is changing.” […]

Read the whole story.

Picktured: Transgender children Oliver (above) and Isabelle (below).

I volunteered at an archive in Lawrence, MA for a while (I actually did a for-credit internship there, as well).  For those who aren’t familiar with Lawrence, it’s an old industrial city situated north of Boston on the Merrimack River.  Nicknamed the “Immigrant City,” it grew in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries as immigrants came from many different countries to work in the mills that were built there.  It’s population and influence declined after peaking in the first few decades of the twentieth century, and is now one of the poorest cities in Massachusetts.  For a small city, it actually has some really fascinating history, including a prominent workers’ strike in 1912. 

I processed two collections during my time at the archive: one was a family collection that included materials from throughout the twentieth century, and the other was a collection of records from a group that promoted cultural events in Lawrence during the first decade of the twenty-first century.

I really enjoyed working at this archive, although various other factors in my life have prevented me from being able to go there anymore.  One question that hardly occured to me while I worked there, but lingers in my mind now, is the way that the archive is handling more recent history.  Over the last several decades, Lawrence has become home to a large Latino population, including many immigrants from the Domincan Republic.  It is predominantly Latino today, and many of the residents speak Spanish as a first language.  I eventually began to notice, however, that the archive didn’t seem to be keeping track of many Spanish-language materials.  All of the clippings that they took from the daily newspapers were from English-language papers, and I can’t recall any Spanish-language collections being worked on while I was there.  Part of this could be due to the fact that more recent materials simply haven’t yet been donated to the archive, but I also wonder about the approach that the leadership of the archive is taking in order to acquire Spanish-language items.  I should try to get in touch with them again someday, and talk about it.  Perhaps there are initiatives being taken of which I’m not aware.  It just doesn’t make sense to me for a primarily Latino, Spanish-speaking city to have an archive that contains almost exlusively English-language materials.

160 year-old Documents Intentionally Destroyed in Franklin County, N.C.

I rarely re-blog, but this one deserves being spread far and wide. Timeline of the Destruction of 100 Year Old Franklin County, NC Records Please read the whole post included above - but the gist i…

Primary sources no more…

It’s worth a visit to The Heritage Society of Franklin County, NC’s Facebook page to read more about this situation, including the Timeline of the Destruction…, noted in this blog post.

A Historical Record
My love and appreciation for wood is never ending. It is an incredibly useful material with a minimal effect on our environment. 

For centuries, wood has provided humans with shelter, warmth, tools and furniture. I find great inspiration in this long history and I like to consider earliest man interacting with the material in the most basic of ways.


Wood is imbedded with many layers of symbolism. The history of the wood, the time, the place is all apart of it. Each piece of wood has a story to tell. It keeps a record of its environment and each year brings new growth that marks its past. The rings of a tree can teach us about the environment and specific events in the trees life. It holds it’s history within and its living energy expresses it outward. In addition to the objects a craftsman creates, this imbedded history and energy is expressed, adding to its depth.

Whenever there’s a great historical figure their characteristics get heavily exaggerated by the later generations that talk about them. Then, on top of that, historical records get lost and distorted over time; the result being that people debate whether they existed at all or not.

My goal is to be so great that in a thousand years people think I didn’t exist.


Breed Spotlight: Kai Ken

Other Names: Tora Inu, Tiger Dog
Country of Origin: Japan (Honshu island, Kai province)

The Kai Ken, also known as the Tora Inu (Tiger Dog), is one of the six, native, Japanese spitz type dogs. The breed’s brindle coat distinguishes it from the other medium sized Nihon Ken. In size, the Kai is larger than the Shiba, but marginally smaller than the Shikoku, Kishu and Hokkaido, giving it a unique place among the Japanese breeds.

The Kai originated in the mountainous region of Kai (modern day Yamanashi) which gave the breed its name. Historical records tell of the famed brindle hunting dogs of the region, and their hunting prowess was believed to be second to none. While traditionally used to hunt Kamoshika, a type of mountain antelope similar to a chamois, their versatility and athleticism allowed them to be used to hunt many types of game, ranging from pheasant to bear. Today they are primarily used to hunt pheasant, wild boar, and deer.

The Kai as a breed is intelligent, athletic, and alert, with a strong desire to hunt. Like most Nihon Ken the Kai is an independent thinker. Many are very attached to their owners, and they can make excellent companions for the individual prepared to give them the attention and exercise they require. They can be territorial, and make reasonable watch dogs, but are not by nature guard dogs or protection dogs. They have shown the ability to be quick learners, with some active in Japan as search and rescue dogs. They are a rare breed even in their native country with an estimated population of around 12,000-14,000, and yearly registrations of between 900 and 1,100, (all registries combined). The main breed registry is run by the Kai Ken Aigokai.

Requested by: lizplz & geardaemon